Sinfield sees the right signs in Ward

PA Sport
Kevin Sinfield (pictured) has backed Stevie Ward to make an impact in Super League
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Kevin Sinfield (pictured) has backed Stevie Ward to make an impact in Super League

As he prepares to play in the biggest match of his life, Stevie Ward is being hailed as "star in the making" by the man in whose footsteps he is being tipped to follow.

Leeds' teenage loose forward, who is set to make his Challenge Cup debut in Saturday's semi-final against Wigan, has been described as the new Kevin Sinfield and the Leeds captain feels the comparison is fair.

"I think he's in front of where I was at, at 18," said Sinfield. "He's a special talent and hopefully the club will continue to nurture him in the right way. He's certainly a star in the making."

Ward, who like Sinfield joined Leeds at the age of 12, made his Super League debut at St Helens in March and has started the last three matches which have all brought victory for the improving Rhinos.

"I think it's fantastic the way he has come in and handled first-team rugby as an 18-year-old," added Sinfield. "I don't think you'll see many in the game doing that, certainly not at the standard he's played at.

"To combine that as well with his A-levels, which he's just finished, takes a special type of character.

"He's very level-headed and he trains hard and he'll be around for a long, long time."

Leeds coach Brian McDermott has a plethora of forwards to pick from, with Kylie Leuluai, Weller Hauraki and Jamie Jones-Buchanan all hoping to return after sitting out last Friday's win over Hull but he says young Ward is sure of his spot in the team.

"He's done really well," said McDermott. "It's fantastic for an 18-year-old to be keeping some good people out of the team.

"I think you can compare him to Kevin Sinfield with his commitment and the way he approaches a game."

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